The Indian High Commission hosted an Indian Classical Concert that featured one of the Indian International Groups Shaila Hattangadi that comprises of four vocalists – three females and one male. The group serenaded the revellers that filled up the Westwood theatre. Shaila Hattangadi group is made up of Hattangadi herself – a remarkable singer of ghazals, geets, bhajans, and thumris; Nirmala Jaishankar, who shares her dramatic and musical skills around the world; Shobana Rao who always captures the fans on radio, TV and on concert and the only male vocalist Arun Gulwadi – a prominent singer having composed songs for radio and theatre.
The Indian High Commissioner to Botswana Dr Ketan Shukla said they decided to bring the group to Botswana because their style of music show the liturgical singing in Vedic times - which has been preserved fairly accurately down to the present day. “Anyone who has heard a performance on the Vina by a good Indian musician has probably heard music as it was played over a thousand years ago,” he said. The response to the music is so much a matter of emotion and intuition to Indians, he said, which is usually evident in their songs. He said there is no harmony in Indian music, and the melody which usually proceeds by conjunct intervals never suggests a harmonic basis as European melodies. “The tune is sustained by a drone note and by drumming, and like the ancient Greeks the Indians delighted and still delight in unusual times,” he said. Shukla said to Indians a man without (love of) literature music or the arts is indeed an animal without a tail or horns, and the fact that he survives even without eating grass is indeed a great piece of luck for the other animals.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng said an opportunity of such events not only entertain but provide a chance to learn and respect each other’s culture. He said it is impressive how Indians continue to preserve their culture and their identity, something that can be a lesson for Botswana. “You all know that in addition to culture development, my portfolio includes youth development. Your creativity, innovation and investment in music are welcome to help us with problems facing the youth such as unemployment,” he said.